It took many more years before I actually got politically involved. I met other people who felt the way I did. Some of them were even members of the Socialist Workers Party.
It has only been during this election cycle, now that I live in Europe and have friends who grew up and lived in communist countries that I have developed a deeper understanding of the way the word socialist is perceived. Russians and former Russians equate socialism with communism. That's because The Soviet Union bore the socialist label although it was a communist dictatorship.
What modern left leaning Americans have done is reclaim the word socialist, snatching it out of the trash heap where it was tossed by McCarthy and many a right wing (and unknowing) American since. The problem with words like 'progressive' and 'liberal' is that there's a lack of clarity about them at times. Hillary Clinton can call herself a progressive, although economically she favors big business and her husband, Bill Clitnon, destroyed the welfare system in our coutnry. (Republicans' wet dream that they'd never been able to get through.)
Someone who is willing to call him or herself a democratic socialist in America most likely has at the heart of their values economic justice.
In a recent Fox News interview with Thor Halvorssen, the founder of Human Rights Foundation and a Venezualan who lived in a socialist dictatorship under Hugo Chavez, the reporter got a surprise. Watch below.